"Italy has a lot of protected industries and interests, and Bersani has a lot of ties to CGIL, Italy's largest labor union," said Open University's Geoff Andrews. "He is somebody from the old school left, and it's unlikely he's going to take a strong fight to the unions."
Can Bersani govern?
According to Andrews, winning the election is just the beginning of Bersani's problems.
Even if Bersani wins the election, recent polls have him falling well short of a majority of the
vote. Most experts believe in order to govern he will need to try to cobble together a coalition with the more centrist Monti, whose austerity measures are deeply unpopular with factions of Bersani's current alliance.
And even if Bersani and Monti manage to strike a deal, Berlusconi could get enough votes to make life difficult for the coalition once it's in office.
His return to power may be unlikely, but the fact Berlusconi looms large in the election -- just 15 months after resigning as Italy hit rock bottom -- is a testament not only to his domination of Italian politics over the past 20 years, but also to the left's inability to capitalize on his scandals, according to Andrews.
"There's a lot of pessimism about the next government, and the problem Bersani's got has been the failure of the left to deal with Berlusconi," Andrews said. "They're all sort of living in his shadow."
Italy has had more than 60 governments since World War II, and desperately needs a stable government to nurse its battered economy back to health.
But while Bersani has sold voters on his promise of "politics that tell the truth," the truth is that the election may only be the start of the battle for control of Italy's future -- and it's hard to keep the man everyone calls "Il Cavaliere" down for too long.